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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Aztec Art : Aztec Lava Sculpture
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Aztec Lava Sculpture - PF.5807
Origin: Mexico
Circa: 1200 AD to 1600 AD
Dimensions: 9.25" (23.5cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Volcanic Stone

Location: United States
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The Aztec civilization is perhaps the most celebrated of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures. Their empire stretched throughout northern Mexico and was surpassed in size only by that of the Incans. Tenochtitlan (modern-day Mexico City) was the center of their religious and political systems. The city was composed of a group of island located in the center of Lake Texcoco, earning it the nickname “Venice of the New World.” By the time the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the early 16th Century, led by the infamous Hernan Cortes, Tenochtitlan was by far larger than any city they could have seen in Europe. Today, the Aztec are remembered for their grand temple complex ruins outside of Mexico City, for their intricate calendar system, and for the few examples of their art that survive today. This carved lava figure, probably representing a god, indicated by the elaborate headdress, demonstrates their developed aesthetical tastes and the skill of their artists. Working with an incredibly porous and delicate material, the forgotten sculptor turned this rock into a divine image that outlasted the civilization itself. - (PF.5807)


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